BME/Radio Archive

Since there’s some interest in them of late, I’ve re-uploaded all of the old BMEradio interviews to my server. You can also download them from iTunes, and I would encourage anyone to feel free to repost them anywhere they feel like or push them into “the cloud” wherever makes sense. I’m not protective of their copyright and would much rather that they be readily available as they are an important part of body modification history and I’d hate to see them forgotten.

Here they are in alphabetical order (not broadcast order). All interviews by me unless otherwise specified. I can’t believe these are twelve years old now!

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/AllenFalkner.mp3
Suspension father and piercer Allen Falkner, interviewed May 26, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/Blair.mp3
Scarification artist and body modification artist Blair, interviewed March 31, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/Cat.mp3
Salking Cat AKA Tiger AKA Dennis Avner, interviewd June 2, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/DavidVidra.mp3
David Vidra, piercing educator, interviewed July 28, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/DJMuggs.mp3
DJ Muggs, Hip Hop artist, interviewed by Damien of Tattoos.com (not sure of airdate, sorry).

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/DrStubbs.mp3
Dr. Robert Stubbs, cosmetic plastic surgeon, interviewed August 4, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/ErikSprague.mp3
Erik Sprague AKA The Lizardman, Freak and performance artist, interviewed May 5, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/FakirMusafar.mp3
Fakir Musafar, who doesn’t need an introduction I think, interviewed June 9, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/GaryWinters.mp3
Gary Winter, tattoo artist, interviewed by Damien of Tattoos.com on April 21, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/JonCobb.mp3
Jon Cobb, piercing pioneer, interviewed May 19, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/KeithAlexander.mp3
Keith Alexander (RIP), piercing artist and musician and technologist, interviwed April 28, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/KurtWiscombe.mp3
Kurt Wiscombe, tattoo artist, interviewed by Damien of Tattoos.com on April 7, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/LuisGarcia.mp3
Luis Garcia, piercing artist, interviewed August 11, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/MarcelNullo1.mp3
Marcel AKA Nullo1, penectomized eunuch, interviewed May 12, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/MarkPantalone.mp3
Mark Pantalone, piercer and body modification artist, interviewed July 21, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/PaulBooth.mp3
Paul Booth, tattoo artist, interviewed by Damien of Tattoos.com on March 24, 2000. This was our first broadcast and there were some audio quality problems.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/SteveHaworth.mp3
Steve Haworth, body modification pioneer and innovator, interviewed July 7, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/TheSands.mp3
The Sands, body modification enthusiasts and married (at the time) couple, interviwed September 28, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/TimCridland.mp3
Tim Cridland AKA Zamora AKA The Torture King, performance artist, interviwed January 9, 2001.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/ToddBertrang.mp3
Todd Bertrang, sexual extremist and body modification artist, interviewed July 14, 2000.

http://www.zentastic.com/bmeradio/TomBrazda.mp3
Tom Brazda, piercing pioneer and procedure/jewelry innovator, interviewed April 14, 2000.

“Running the Gauntlet” book review and commentary

I have to admit that my ego, believing the bridges were long since mended, thought I’d have had a less hostile representation in this book, but I suppose that is a result of the reality that I have very often been at sociopolitical odds with Jim Ward and Gauntlet — although I hope it’s obvious that our differences are minor in comparison to our agreements, as we have both dedicated much of our lives fighting for the same general cause. While it isn’t mentioned in the book (and I hope it doesn’t reflect badly upon me that I feel a little bruised and slighted by that), in 2003 I approached Jim Ward asking him whether he would be willing to write a series of columns for BME/News recounting the history of Gauntlet and his essential role in founding the commercial body piercing industry. If memory serves, BME invested about $5000 in a wonderful series of columns that were warmly received by everyone — especially me — and after ten columns (Jim has archived these columns on his website here and they offer a great taste of what you’ll find in the book) it was clear that this project had the potential to be much more than just a column and deserved to grow into a full length book. At this point the columns ended and Jim Ward began pouring his efforts into the book, which is now available for purchase. If I am permitted to whine just a little more, I think the reason that my catalytic efforts in germinating this book are strangely absent from mention is that Jim has never quite forgiven me for labeling him and Gauntlet as “conservative”, and that bitterness does come across a few times in the book. While I strongly disagree with some of the way I’m characterized in the book, it is interesting to see and understand how the words of my youth affected others who had been a working in this industry since I was barely out of diapers.

Here is how I am described in Chapter 14, a description that is both flattering and not depending on your viewpoint;

“Perhaps the most strident voice of the new wave has been that of Shannon Larratt, the founder in 1994 of the online body mod community, BMEzine.com, and originator of ModCon… Aside from the fact that he is essentially a body-mod anarchist, is it any wonder that Shannon considered Gauntlet, is it any wonder that Shannon considered Gauntlet conservative? The most advanced piercings that we did — ampallangs, apadravyas, and the occasional clitoris — pale by comparison. Being so focused on the most extreme modifications conceivable, how could he be anything other than jaded?”

Mixed feelings aside, it is fun to be called a “body-mod anarchist“!

Given my efforts in promoting and advocating for every single form of body modification, I feel this is an unfair statement to make. I think it comes from the fact — and this is briefly mentioned in the book — that in the mid-nineties, I in very strong words criticized Gauntlet and the APP for statements that Michaela Grey, a dear friend of Jim’s, made online and in The Point, eventually driving her from the industry. I make no apologies for that, because during that period Gauntlet had shifted from pushing the industry forward, to holding it back, and they were doing it not through caution, but through outright lies and deception and slander. Nasty rumors were started and promoted about those doing procedures they didn’t support, and horrible misinformation was spread about the use of scalpels and dermal punches — which I knew resulted in safer piercings that healed faster in some cases, and thus promoted them — as well as non-standard piercings and body modification in general. I wasn’t going to tolerate Gauntlet using their seniority to slag great piercers with ludicrous statements like saying any piercer willing to do a hand web piercing is a butcher because of the risk of hitting the bones in the hand. She also claimed that nape piercings put people at risk of paralysis — a statement showing an abject lack of comprehension of anatomy — and Jim admits in the book that nape piercings “still alarm him” although he does concede that he’s never heard of any of the complications that the APP spoke out so strongly with coming true, and sums up, “who can argue with success?”, which I appreciate him including. I’ve never been able to tolerate liars or fools, even if they believe it’s “for a good cause”, and I think that oldschool piercers, who seemed to get their piercing sensibilities from their raging hard-ons rather than their brains, were at great odds with modern piercers who pushed ever more daring procedures that, as extreme as they may have seemed, were well-researched, responsible, and backed up by a solid understanding of the underlying anatomy and science. I think this was amplified because many of those piercers who came from the SM and gay sex world were very used to civil rights abuses by the mainstream, and were very cautious and skittish because of it, making them willing to sacrifice their own to avoid undue public scrutiny.

I’m not the only person discussed in this book with some latent hostility and outright error and misrepresentation. Another “victim” is Jon Cobb, a pioneering piercer who I believe deserves incredible credit for his heroic role in pushing piercing forward. I think it’s very important to remember that “Running The Gauntlet” is one man’s memory of his role — an admittedly essential and important role — in the history of body piercing. It is not a definitive history. It has not been fact checked. And because of that it is riddled with error after error, and mistruth after mistruth. Because that is what personal memory is like. For example, and speaking of Jon Cobb, the book writes, “Paul King performed [the uvula piercing] and then went on to get one himself. His comment? ‘It was a very stupid piercing’”. Not only is this a flat-out lie — one that Paul earned a bad reputation for spreading at the time, and I was both surprised and dismayed to see repeated after so many years — but it simultaneously steals someone’s credit with one hand while slandering them with the other. The truth of the matter is that Jon Cobb came up with this procedure and did it on himself. Paul King was there, and assisted Jon, but in no way did he do the piercing. And while it is true that Paul is on record in print slandering Jon’s procedure as “stupid” or a “trainwreck” (in a recent issue of The Point, showing that these negative attitudes have persisted through the years), that totally misrepresents Jon’s skill and responsible nature and I would urge anyone wanting to know the true story to listen to my BME/Radio interview with Jon Cobb, which is available for free download on iTunes and elsewhere.

While it’s very obvious that I have mixed feelings and some very strong objections to a lot of the content in the book, please don’t think that I’m telling you not to read it. I’d only ask that you read it with a big grain of salt and that you understand that it is one person’s memory, not an authorotative history. It is essential reading for those who want to understand the mindset and the people who created the modern piercing industry in the 1970s and 1980s — and also to understand how difficult it was for them to cope with what BME, Steve Haworth, Job Cobb, Tom Brazda, and a great many others would go on to create in the 1990s from the foundation Gauntlet provided. As we all are, Jim is flawed and his stories are flawed, and he (and Gauntlet) is metaphorically the “parent” in this story, and we (the BME generation) are the “children”. This book is a real reminder that we will never really understand each other. In a way that’s sad, but perhaps it is just the unavoidable way growth and evolution has always happened.

I agree with the review that Sean Philips posted to ModBlog calling this book “required reading”. I can’t imagine a piercing fan that won’t enjoy this, and as far as I’m concerned, all piercing professionals must read it in order to understand where their livelihood came from. You can order the book from Amazon, but you should probably order it straight from http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com/ because you can get it signed (and I suspect also ordering direct sends more money to the deserving author, rather than a corporate distributor)!

And wow, this book really motivates me to finish getting my own stories down on paper to “tell the other side of the story”.

Great work Jim, I am enjoying this book immensely and may well have more to say on it in the future. Thank you so much for writing it, and for everything you have done. This world would be a very different place without your efforts, and a much more boring place.

My absentee blogger mid-July life update

Rambling bag of typos, coming right up!

Sorry, I know I am totally neglecting this blog. On the other hand, I’m posting (well, sharing, but that’s all usually did) a mountain — seriously, perhaps even more than I did with ModBlog “back in the day” — of body modification stuff on my Facebook wall which you can see here: http://www.facebook.com/larratt. You don’t have to be my “friend” to see it, it’s all public. The only people who can’t see it are a small but growing list of people who post insulting crap and get themsleves gleefully blocked.

I’m exploring various ways to harvest the wall feed and mirroring it onto a more conventional blog platform, at least for some sort of a searchable archive… Facebook is woefully lacking in features and interface for people who want to blog there, which is unfortunate, because it takes me almost no time at all to create quite a lot of fasinating material. I roughed out some code today that would let me patch into my blog-to-pdf software and perhaps actually create the whole thing as a downloadable magazine that people could even use print-on-demand services to get hardcopies of!!! We shall see.

This entry may be a little rambly because it’s been so long since I’ve posted that I have many things to write on, and will only hit a few of them I’m sure.


One of my connundrums as an atheist parent that tries to instill “atheist values” and a love for rational thinking is how to also instill an appreciation for the spiritual side of life — it may surprise you that atheists can still think of themselves as “spiritual”. Of course we have always enjoyed story telling, which in addition to obvious fiction, has always included mythology of various cultures, from Native American tales like “where the strawberry came from” (which is a very touching fairytale) to big books of Christian Bible Stories. But that’s not the same as really feeling a part of a spiritual life.

One of the most common and earliest “religious experiences” that young people have is that of Santa Claus. Santa rewards ethical behavior with a supernatural act of omnipresent gift giving. Unfortunately while this story starts very, very real, it is thrown away and replaced with the knowledge that it was a lie, and is simply a callous capitalist cash-in for spoiled children. In our house, I have always told Nefarious that Santa is real, and I still do. However, I don’t try and explain “him” as a man-like personification. Instead, for us “Santa” is an idea — and I do not claim this concept of expressing Santa as “the spirit of giving” as my idea or anything, but the basic premise is that “Santa Claus” is a passion that captures people during the Christmas holidays to give gifts to those they love. And this of course is very real, and by acting on that love and that idea, we make Santa as real as he needs to be.

Today we were reading the second book in the WondLa series, “A Hero for WondLa” (which truly is amazing, both the story and the stunning artwork, and I recommend it for both adults young at heart and kids), and a character is nearing death and there is some discussion of the spirit and what happens after we die. I asked Nefarious if she thought that we had a spirit, some sort of “life force” separate from our physical bodies, and she wasn’t sure, but thought we probably did, so I figured I’d tell her what I think — which again isn’t particularly profound, nor is it “my idea”, but it works for me as a parent and an individual.

I subscribe to some concept of Gaia Theory which holds that the Earth is a self-regulating complex system, and in some vague sense, alive as an entity in and of itself on some level. In the same way that the cells in our body combine to make us (and are individually unaware of the whole), we combine to make the whole. At first Nefarious suggested that we humans might not actually be a true part of Gaia, but be a malfunction of some sort similar to a disease, but after thinking about it for a moment, she decided that we were much more likely the brain. I told her — as I think I have written here before — that I am not so sure that we are the brain, but that we are much more likely the reproductive system. Barring Martian asteroid type exogenesis/panspermia, humans are, after all, the first and best shot that Gaia has for repeating itself on other planetary bodies, both in our solar system and beyond. Thus we are Gaia’s reproductive system, and Gaia is currently going through puberty. Explains the terrible acne.

But how does the spirit fit in? The spirit, to my atheist Gaian way of thinking is analogous to a phantom limb. If we lose a limb, even though our mind know it is gone, it is still very much there on some level, and we can still feel it, sense it, and experience it. We imagine it as part of our self-image, although this may fade with time. And on Earth, when a human dies, its mark remains — as is often said, we live on in people’s memory, in the stories they tell about us, in the imprint we leave on the social media and greater history that people continue to experience indefinitely. An echo of us lives on and is very real, and when you consider not individual humans, bue the Gaia super-entity, we are in many ways as real as we ever were. When you look at the complex system that is this planet and the human society that is a dominant subset thereof, we continue to exist for a very long time after our human body perishes and disappears. And if that isn’t a spirit, a very real spirit that genuinely exists, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, I do believe that pondering these cosmological and spiritual musings is an important part of the human experience, and I don’t believe that being a vocal atheist stops one from having passionate faith that there is something greater than ourselves that we are an eternal part of.


Now then. We are having a wonderful summer. I admit it’s more than a little physically draining, every step is agony, and I’m pretty sure when I’m not paying attention I’m being run over by invisible trucks. However, a la “the flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long” I would much rather burn brightly than dimly. And if I’m swimming in the ocean of life, I’d rather keep swimming as far out as I can than constantly worry whether I have saved enough energy for the swim back. I know I’m going to drown sooner than I would like if such things were up to my choosing. But it’s not going to make me not swim.

And moving from the metaphorical to the literal, swimming is something we’ve done a lot of. We even went swimming in the lake here — and I’m looking forward next week to visiting a friend’s cottage next week for a non-polluted beach — and if I remember right, that day we made the afternoon news (on AM640) complaining about the heat.

But that muddy garbage sluge swim was just once — I can’t believe it’s a “blue flag” safe water beach from how disgusting it is. This summer we’ve been favoring Toronto’s Sunnyside Pool, which is not just the largest free (woo woo, and free parking too if you park at High Park) outdoor pool. But maybe more importantly the pool is in constant sunshine so it’s very warm. The High Park pool has a waterslide (which I can’t use because stairs make it a no-go), but it’s freezine cold in comparison for some reason. And it has been so crazy hot here, as even the sad ducks have discovered. It was sort of pathetic looking at these footprints waddling through the duck pond which is normally full of water — I think in a decade of going to this park I have never seen it dried up.

But the great news about the park is that they’ve rebuilt the castle that some assholes burned down a while back. It’s much larger now — I’d say solidly twice as big — and has added a few cool features. It also seems safer, but that’s a bit of a negative as far as many kids are concerned — apparently there aren’t as many little nooks to hide in. But that castle in the past was a place where kids could hide and truly disappear into so I think that made parents nervous. All in all it’s a massive improvement, so I guess that it turned out for the best.

The color is a little boring right now but a few weeks ago kids and community members painted five hundred shields with feel-good slogans and pictures. This echoes some of the community art that is already up in the park from when it was first built. Going with the medieval theme, there’s also a fun “sword in the stone” at the entrance that every single parent has forced their kids to pull on for a photograph!

Oh and we had two additional things happen there in terms of encounters. First, I was sitting reading and I see two cops coming toward me — which always gets my heart beating, because usually those encounters have not been good for me. They say “your daughter is a very sensible girl”, and I notice she’s trailing them. Apparently she couldn’t see where I was sitting in the big crowd that had come for the opening (since this was Mike Holmes filming for HGTV, there was a ton of excited kids telling everyone “I’m going to be on TV!!!”) and went up to the police and said, “Can you help me find my dad? He’s got a lot of tattoos and a big beard”, and they helped her track me down. The big beard though is my other encounter, which is the funnier of the two, I guess because it can make me look like a hobo in some people’s eyes. A little girl and her mom walked past, and she (maybe six years old) turns to her mother and says, “mommy, should we give that old man some money?”

Hahaha. It’s very sweet, but I’m not sure if I should be a little mixed in my feelings!

Did I mention that we went to see Beauty and the Beast? We got to see it on opening night at the Four Seasons Centre (a super venue for this sort of thing), which also mean a few technical errors. I enjoy those more than the show perhaps! We also went to see the amazing Cavalia’s Odysseo, the “horse circus” which was also an incredible night — don’t miss it if it’s in your town. And also had a glitch, when some “naughty horses” started misbehaving and chasing each other around. It was totallt nuts. Other entertainment has included various movies — I loved Prometheus which I saw with Caitlin, and also Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which I mentioned previously.

Oh — here’s a picture that maybe someone can explain to me. It’s part of a giant mural promoting Toronto down at the bottom of Parkside (Keele). We see it every time we walk to the pool. I have not taken it out of context or selectively cropped it. I can not wrap my head around how it can be something positive — “nothing is possible”… Hmmm… I would understand “nothing is impossible” or “everything is possible”, but this seems like a bit of a downer.

Oh and the shading is a trick of the light — it’s not supposed to say “no thing is possible” either, I think. It’s literally a spirit breaker. This is just as bad as typos on tattoos.


I’ve been working on building up Nefarious’s confidence, and on the “free parenting” meme that I have always advocated, I have let her go out a couple times on neighborhood errands for me, buying things from the corner store and so on. Nothing dangerous, nothing too ambitious for now, but enough to make her feel very proud and know she’s accomplished something independent. Also, because as you may recall one of the problems with her health was that she wasn’t eating good food, Caitlin got her a nice introductory cookbook, and she’s been having a ton of fun (and I think feeling really good about herself) cooking various dishes. Because her mother has MS and is often under the weather, she’s looking forward to helping her out with things like this when the school year resumes. This week she’s made — with Caitlin’s help and a little from me — baked macaroni and sloppy joes from scratch, ranch dressing, yogurt-and-berry parfait, some sort of mega popsicles, and today she made delcious mini blueberry muffins.

Jana was here today so she was pleased to feed her and via her the soon-to-be-baby. In one of our birds-and-the-bees talks I told Nefarious how during natural childbirth it’s normal for the mom to “take a dump” on the baby — eww! — and that part of the reason this has evolved is that it allows a transfer of healthy bacterial (like a “fecal transplan” — look it up!) from mother to child. I was expecting her to say “that’s disgusting” but she said, “well, it’s not as gross as the first part of how a baby is made… you know… the S-E-X part.” Oh, if only that attitude holds up into her teenage years!

I could go on and on and if I had more time I would. We’ve been playing lots of brain games too, today playing some Mind Bender, which she’s getting really good at.


I don’t know if I mentioned it here, but I finally got to see the apnea expert I’ve been waiting to get an appointment with for half a year. I found out there that my sleep study which was done a year ago had worse results than I’d thought, with my oxygen levels dropping to about 75% while I sleep (not good at all), and breathing an average of one or two times an hour, with 40+ incidents of central apnea an hour. Oh and there was a full hour where my breathing was so shallow they couldn’t detect it at all — an hour, yikes! If it wasn’t for the fact that a year has passed and I’m still alive I think they would have checked me in that very day. But now I have another sleep study in two weeks, at the end of the month, with more complete testing being done. I get the impression though that all it will say is the severity, without giving them much ability to explicity tell me why it’s happening or what can be done to help it, or if it will get worse or stay stable.

I am deathly afraid that they will strongly recommend that I be taken off my painkillers — because that is the very first thing they already recommended. I do not know what I would do in that case. I think I would emphasize to them that it is simply not an option that I could survive, because even on the massive levels of painkillers I’m on right now I am in constant and unbearable agony, and if the rest of my life wasn’t so f-ing awesome, I would have swallowed a bullet long, long ago.

Anyway, I have much more to say on a great many subjects, but no time to do it.

Later days.

THE TATTOOED DESERVE TO DIE.

It’s rare that the concept of acting like a giant asshole to attract attention, and then begging for money after saying “just kidding”, works out.

The photo of the bus stop ad on the left was taken in Utah, but was run in various forms across America. It initially contained no other information — just that offensive statement. Later on they added in small text “if they have lung cancer”. They’re trying to highlight the idea that many people believe that people who have lung cancer due to smoking cigarettes “deserve it”. Which is arguably true I suppose, although a very callous statement when you consider the nature of addiction.

Other versions of the ad ran with “cat lovers” and “hipsters” and so on, so they’re not drawing a parallel with hepatitis or something like that. They’re just trying to be as offensive as possible to draw attention to their cause. Unfortunately it’s going to draw the wrong sort of attention to their cause — simply convincing me that they’re callous emotionally-unemphatic jerks, and if this thinking pervades their charity, it’s not one that I’d choose to donate too.

And sorry, but I’d much rather donate money to groups fighting to stop smoking, to make sure that people don’t smoke around children and so on, than to pay to help smokers — which is how this ad frames the lung cancer debate. That raises an important point — is “helping those poor innocent smokers” really an effective way to raise money for cancer research? Accuse people of being jerks, and you’re just as likely to have them keep on being jerks rather than handing you a wad of cash. This whole thing seems an incredibly counter-productive way of helping, and I definitely don’t appreciate them kickstarting the whole thing with hostility toward tattooed people.

PS. There are pictures of all the ads here: http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2012/no-one-deserves-to-die/

All, all toward the mystic ocean tending

Yes, I do still post here on this terribly neglected blog from time to time. I do however post way too many times every day all about body modification (if it really counts as “posting” when I’m mostly just sharing my friends posts) over here: http://www.facebook.com/larratt. But I’m trying to stay alive here at least once a week. I think I mentioned that I had recently seen Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and wasn’t expecting much, but was quite happy with what I enjoyed nonetheless. It was a surprisingly “serious” movie, but it seems the sequel is… not so much serious… In it, Che Guevera helps Frankenstein from getting convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. It is called “Che Guevara: Frankenstein Translator”. Here are some scenes from this upcoming cult classic:

Speaking of videos, my brother Devon just got back from Las Vegas where he fought 270 pound Ukrainian Andrey Pushkar for the superheavyweight left arm world championship title fight at Armfight #42. The action starts at about 8 minutes in, but because it’s not edited down you may want to jump over to YouTube and watch it there so you can see the thumbnails and skip through for the exciting parts (for example the match at 14:00 — or the one at 18:40 where my brother BREAKS HIS WILL COMPLETELY, in the next match at 22:20 he just embarasses him with the CAN OPENER!, in 25:20 he’s just playing with him, and by the final match at 27:40 Pushkar looks like a baby with nothing left). Short version is what I expected, that my brother returned DECISIVELY victorious and remains #1 in the world.

There’s also a pre-fight interview with Devon and one after the match, as well as some earlier footage of Andrey training.

That reminds me, one of the presents I sent along was a snap electronics education kit, which I got my daughter as well years ago. Here’s their website: http://www.snapcircuits.net/… I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s really easy for kids to use, and starts fun, but also can lead to a solid understanding of how these things work. One of the most recent things that Nefarious built here was an AM transmitter that broadcasts music over the radio, which she enjoyed a great deal, and we figured out how to modify it to broadcast the music from her tablet.

I’m a bit under the weather right now because my daughter is visiting her grandmother for a few days, and is actually up in Ottawa right now for her youngest Cousin’s birthday. Because she’s away, I’ve cut my pain medication in half so that I can get a little bit of a buffer put away. I am lucky in that I don’t suffer from withdrawal as badly as most people do, but it’s still not very fun and I’m in a lot of extra pain right now. That said, even if I double my medication I’m still in a lot of pain. In the last twenty years there is only one medication that has taken the pain away, and that’s diacetylmorphine, more commonly known as heroin. Unfortunately there are very few places in the world where it’s legally prescribed, and this isn’t one of them. Why is that? Politics alone. It’s just as safe if not safer than the majority of legal pain medications and far less addictive than cigarettes. However, because of the moralistic War on Drugs, the decision has been made that’s it’s more important to stop people from seeking pleasure for the sake of pleasure than keeping sick people out of pain.

To keep my mind off things I drew a couple of shirt/sticker designs and uploaded them to RedBubble, which uses a really nice quality printing process (so it’s not like the Zazzle shirts that eventually peel apart if you don’t take care to handwash them inside out), and they also can do one-off shaped vinyl stickers!!! And they’re cheap! The stickers are actually the best part of this probably. Anyway, you can click these pictures to get to the pages for the shirts and stickers. If you order make sure to specify your size, it’s easy to miss! I accidentally ordered myself a medium, so I have to give it to Caitlin, who says she already has way too many shirts (not that I don’t too).

I was rereading “Last Frontiers on Earth: Strange Places You Can Live For Free“, a utopian survivalist set of essays musing about weird deserted places you can live in peace, from remote islands to airships and submarines. I do love the idea — how very steampunk — of living on an airship, and as I’ve mentioned before I think it’s feasible and wish I had invested my money in such an idea back when I was still a multi-millionaire and not a poor bastard like I am these days. But another idea I liked a lot was something called the “Reefhome”, pictured here:

Unfortunately my net searches don’t turn up much and I’m thinking that it’s all but fallen off the radar and been given up on. But anyway, the basic concept is that you have an above-water deck area and a submerged weather-proof cylinder as the living space, and then a large underwater deck that would quickly become encrusted with coral and underwater plants, serving as aquaculture and to attract fishes as food. If you had a small income to support yourself, this could be a wonderful place to live as an alternative to boat living, and probably in a similar price range as well. Getting more radical, instead of mooring it near land, it could be attached to one of many sea mounts — undersea mountains, often extremely remote, that don’t quite come above the surface but are shallow enough to attach such a structure to.

I just re-read the “Golden Cup” and “Golden City” series of comics and I suppose my mind is on floating cities in more ways than one. I highly recommend these series for sci-fi comic fans by the way — there are some illicit scanlations into English floating around the net I believe. But ocean cities, were it not for my worry that it would only lead to further exploitation and destruction of that mysterious deep blue, I would love such a reality dearly.

In cabin’d ships at sea,
The boundless blue on every side expanding,
With whistling winds and music of the waves, the large imperious waves,
Or some lone bark buoy’d on the dense marine,
Where joyous full of faith, spreading white sails,
She cleaves the ether mid the sparkle and the foam of day, or under
  many a star at night,
By sailors young and old haply will I, a reminiscence of the land, be read,
In full rapport at last.

Here are our thoughts, voyagers’ thoughts,
Here not the land, firm land, alone appears, may then by them be said,
The sky o’erarches here, we feel the undulating deck beneath our feet,
We feel the long pulsation, ebb and flow of endless motion,
The tones of unseen mystery, the vague and vast suggestions of the
  briny world, the liquid-flowing syllables,
The perfume, the faint creaking of the cordage, the melancholy rhythm,
The boundless vista and the horizon far and dim are all here,
And this is ocean’s poem.

More shall come another day, I am not done yet.

PS. If the Reefhome interests you, you may want to read this Seasteading Book Beta (and I’m not sure if this version here is a newer or older link so I’ll include both).